Posted January 29, 2020 at 12:24 AM Under "Fundraising & Development"
Sponsors?! Where and how to find them

Hi!

I am Ellen, a volunteer from a Belgium foster care programme for cats. At the moment, we are really struggling... It's hard to find sponsors or donators :( So I was wondering, what is your strategy? How do you reach out to companies etc. to ask for money or donations?

  • February 02, 2020 at 07:23 AM

    Ellen, I just realized I didn't really answer the "how" you reach out part of your question.

    Like you, I was a volunteer. My friend who worked at the non-profit where I volunteered always said when a volunteer asks they usually get better results.

    I think it varies on your comfort level, and what you do best. For me I always liked asking face to face whenever I could. For example if I were in a retail store shopping before I left I would ask for the store manager. I would then tell them about the organization I was supporting, how they helped my family, and then I would ask them for a monetary donation. I always asked for large sums, not really expecting it but aim high, right? I rarely walked out empty handed, and/or had a promise of their involvement and monetary donation.

    Sometimes business owners or managers requested paperwork to be filled out and/or letters written on letterhead from the non-profit organization to verify information they needed.

    Whenever, I did this I always respected the manager's time. The first thing I would ask is if they have a few minutes. If they were busy I would set up another time to come back, or call them if it worked better for them. Most of the time they took the time to talk. I had literature with me about the organization to give them. Regardless of the turnout I always thanked them for taking the time to talk with me. I got to be pretty good at knowing quickly if they were really interested in being involved.

    I always had receipts to give them if they needed it for their tax records.

    There were days where I couldn't get out in person so I would pick up the phone and call local businesses. Overall I think in person works better but I had good phone results too.

    One day I was at a table outside of a grocery store by myself (it's always better to have lots of volunteers working together), selling raffle tickets. I also had a donation jar set up and lots of different hand outs about the organization I was supporting. A lady went by, she stopped and said she wouldn't give a donation, that she supported this organization through the mail. I thanked her. Then she went on to say that a friend had recently been diagnosed with the illness of the organization I was supporting. My heart went out to the lady. I gave her literature. I told her who to reach out to for help for her friend. When we were done talking she put $20 in the donation jar.

    There was a restaurant that I used to take my father too frequently. So I asked the store manager for a donation. He kept giving me the run around, would tell me to come back on a certain day, and time and then "wouldn't be there" when I showed up. Finally, the last time I went he made me wait 45 minutes, was rude and gave me a gift card that expired before the fundraising event we needed it for. So I told my friends who were volunteers, caregivers, and employees of the non-profit organization about what happened. We always shared our successes and failures to learn from each other. None of us ever went back to this restaurant again.

    I hope this is more helpful to you.

  • January 30, 2020 at 07:39 AM

    I don't work at a shelter but used to volunteer raising funds and awareness for a non-pet related organization. I loved my work, was passionate about it, and community involvement. I asked everyone where I shopped, or did business with for donations. I got a lot of no's but there were also people and businesses who wanted to be involved and help. Many went out the extra mile to help.

    Have you tried reaching out to businesses in your community? You can ask pet related and non-pet related businesses to help your organization. Here are a couple ideas:

    1. Go to businesses in your community and ask if you can set up a donation jar at their business. It may not be a lot of money but over time it adds up. If possible leave literature, or a business card for your organization next to the jar. Trust is an issue here so make sure responsible people will be picking up the donation jars. Sad to say but sometimes these jars do get stolen by shoppers. This happened where my husband used to work. But it is not the norm.

    2. Go to pet related businesses and ask if you can set up a table outside (weather permitting), or inside. Put a donation box out with a list of item(s) your organization needs that customers can purchase while shopping and drop in the box. Include literature that people can take if they want to research your organization so they feel confident in making a donation. Include what you do, how many cats you have helped. Give specifics. Brag about your success stories.

    3. Greatergood.org helps people and animals around the world, contact them to find out how they can help your organization and what you need to do to qualify for help.

    4. Reach out to big businesses that make pet products. Many of these organizations have funds set aside to help non-profit organizations. Sometimes instead of money they donate in kind donations - pet related items (food, leashes, toys and other pet products that are useful to your organization.)

    5. Post your needs on your website if you have one, and social your social media accounts. Ask your supporters, employees, volunteers, family members, friends and neighbors to help get the word out about your needs on their social media accounts.

    6. Do you have a location where you can have a fundraiser? Make it fun. Ask local businesses for donations, and in return get their name out in the community letting everyone know they are supporting your efforts. If businesses won't give you a monetary donation, ask for gift baskets or gift cards that can be raffled at the event. When they make donations in return shop at their stores when you can, also your supporters, volunteers, etc. Let the stores know the reason you are shopping in their store is because they have supported your organization.

    7. Check with local restaurants in your area and ask if they'll help. You can coordinate a day where they will donate 20% (or whatever percentage you agree on) to your organization. Ask them if they'll help get the word out to their customers. Get the word out to your supporters and the community on your end so you can both get as many people as possible in their restaurant that day.

    8. When you are doing any events ask your local radio and newspaper to help get the word out to the community. Some radio stations might even want to be at the events. Depending on who it is they may have a lot of loyal followers who will want to attend the event because they are there.

    Remember that you will get no's but don't let that stop you. You will also get people on board who want to help. Support your supporters, and ask your volunteers, employees, friends, and family to also.

    I wish you all the best with this. If you try any of these things please let check back and let us know how this goes for you.



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